Patent Registration Process in the UAE: Safeguarding Intellectual Property Rights

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Introduction

Developing a new product or process can be an exhilarating and demanding journey that requires a combination of creativity, technical skills, and an entrepreneurial spirit. However, beyond the excitement and potential for launching a new company or creating fresh opportunities, it is crucial to protect your innovation. Patent registration plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the novelty and marketability of an invention. In this article, we will explore the patent registration process in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its significance in preserving intellectual property rights.

THREE WAYS TO APPLY FOR A PATENT
1. File online at the Ministry of Economy’s eServices.
2. File in person by visiting the Ministry of Economy’s offices in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
3. Engage an authorized agent to submit the application on your behalf.

FEES AND OTHER COSTS
Patent application fees: For individuals—AED 1,000. For companies—AED 2,000.
Search and first examination fees: AED 7,000.
Additional fees for further examinations: AED 5,000 per request.
Other possible costs: Attorney fees, Translation fees if the patent application is not submitted in Arabic.

DURATION AND TIMELINES
Examination by the UAE Patent Office: 3-12 months.
Waiting for challenges or objections after publishing in the official gazette: 90 days.
The entire process from Patent Application to the Grant of Patent can take up to 42 months.

What is patent registration?

Patent registration is the legal process by which an inventor secures exclusive rights to their invention for a specified period. These exclusive rights grant the inventor the authority to prevent others from utilizing, manufacturing, selling, or importing the patented invention without obtaining their explicit permission. By registering a patent, inventors establish ownership rights and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Patent Registration Process in the UAE

Applying for a patent in the UAE can be a complex and lengthy process, but it is crucial for protecting your intellectual property rights. The patent registration process is overseen by the Ministry of Economy’s Patent Office. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the process:

Prior to commencing the patent application procedure, it is crucial to perform an extensive search to ascertain the novelty of your invention and confirm that it has not already been patented in the UAE or any other nation. The UAE Patent Office provides an online database that you can use for your search. Additionally, seeking the assistance of a patent attorney can be beneficial in ensuring a thorough search.

Step 2: File a Patent Application

Once you have established that your invention is unique, you can proceed with filing a patent application. The application should include a detailed description of your invention, accompanied by drawings or diagrams that support your claims. It is crucial to include a list of claims that specifically define the scope of your invention.

To file a patent in the UAE, you have three options:

  1. To file a patent in the UAE, you can visit the Ministry of Economy’s eServices.
  2. File in person by visiting the Ministry of Economy’s offices in Dubai or Abu Dhabi
  3. Engage an authorized agent to submit on your behalf

Step 3: Pay the Patent Filing Fee

Filing a new patent application in the UAE requires the payment of an application fee. The fee amount depends on whether the applicant is an individual or a company. As of 2021, the fee for individuals is AED 1,000, while for companies, it is AED 2,000.

In addition to the application fee, applicants may also request a search and first examination of their patent application, which incurs a fee of AED 7,000. If further examination is required, an additional fee of AED 5,000 per request will be charged. It is essential to note that these fees are subject to change, and it is advisable to verify the current fees with the UAE government’s official patent office at the time of filing.

Apart from the official fees, applicants should also consider other costs associated with patent filing, such as attorney fees and translation fees if the patent application is not submitted in Arabic.

Step 4: Patent Application Examination

After you have successfully submitted your patent application and paid the fees, the UAE Patent Office examines your application. The duration of this process takes approximately 7 months from the date of submitting the application until the completion of the legal examination, about 42 months from the date of paying examination fees until the date of receiving the examination results, depending on the workload of the Patent Office.

Throughout the examination process, the UAE Patent Office will meticulously assess your application to ensure that it satisfies all the essential criteria and fulfills the necessary requirements. If any deficiencies or areas of improvement are identified, they may request additional information or ask you to make changes to your application. It is essential to cooperate and promptly respond to any such requests to facilitate a smooth examination process.

Patent Application: Rejection, Request for Re-examination, and Appeals

There are several circumstances in which your application may be rejected. Non-compliance with formalities, lack of novelty, obviousness, lack of industrial applicability, and subject matter that is not patentable are some of the reasons for rejection. If your application is rejected, you have the option to request a second examination by submitting an argument justifying the need for re-examination. Article 50 outlines the process for filing a grievance or appeal regarding a decision made by the Ministry in relation to industrial property rights. Articles 50 and 51 establish the procedure for filing a grievance or appeal against decisions made by the Ministry regarding industrial property rights. It provides interested parties with a timeframe within which they can submit a petition to the Committee or file an appeal before the court. Additionally, it introduces the requirement for an ex parte re-examination conducted by the Ministry before proceeding with a grievance but allows for a grievance to be filed specifically in relation to the outcome of the re-examination.

Step 5: Grant of Patent

Once your application successfully navigates the examination process and meets all the necessary requirements, the MOE will publish the decision to grant a patent, in the Official Gazette of the UAE. You have to pay the relevant publication fees.

During the ninety (90) days following the publication, if no opposition is raised against the MOE’s decision to grant the patent, it will be granted to you. The MOE will then issue a Certificate for the Registration of the patent, which establishes your exclusive rights as the patent holder. This certificate prevents others in the UAE from using your invention without obtaining your prior authorization and grants the exclusive right to manufacture, use, or sell your invention in the UAE for a specified period of time.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) plays a crucial role in supporting applicants who wish to obtain global patent protection for their inventions. It aids patent offices in making informed decisions on patent grants and promotes public access to an extensive range of technical information related to these innovations. Through the submission of a single international patent application under the PCT, inventors can efficiently pursue protection for their creations in all the PCT member countries simultaneously.

In conclusion, obtaining a patent in the UAE requires careful attention to fees and adherence to specific timelines. The application fee varies from AED 2,000 to AED 12,000, depending on the type of application and the number of claims. The patent application process usually follows the timeline of approximately 7 months from the date of submitting the application until the completion of the legal examination, about 42 months from the date of paying examination fees until the date of receiving the examination results, and approximately 3 months from the date of paying publication fees until the issuance of the patent.

By following the appropriate procedures, respecting deadlines, and managing your patent effectively, you can maximize the benefits of your invention and protect your intellectual property in the UAE. Protecting your intellectual property through patent registration is a valuable investment that can ensure the long-term success and profitability of your inventions in the UAE market.

REFERENCES

 

About ATB Legal

ATB Legal is a full-service legal consultancy in the UAE providing services in dispute resolution (DIFC Courts, ADGM Courts, mainland litigation management and Arbitrations), corporate and commercial matters, IP, business set up and UAE taxation. We also have a personal law department providing advice on marriage, divorce and wills & estate planning for expats. Please feel free to reach out to us at office@atblegal.com for a non-obligatory initial consultation.

by Saniya Mariam Thomas

Saniya is a legal consultant at ATB Legal. She is a law graduate from Calicut University, earned her master’s from Christ University, Bangalore, and is enrolled with the Bar Council of Kerala. She has earned several prizes in national and international moot court competitions.

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